By the law of averages it had to happen eventually, but the moment has been so long coming that it is almost with a sense of relief that we note that this week, for the first time since Clean Bandit's fourth and final week at Number One with Rather Be at the end of February, we have a single spending a second consecutive week at the top of the Official UK Singles chart.
Ghost by Ella Henderson is the record in question, although she tops the chart by the simple virtue of her nearest challenger lacking the kind of staying power the relentless string of other new releases have managed over the past four months. Theoretically, there should have been nothing to stop 5 Seconds Of Summer landing their second Number One hit of the year, following on from She Looks So Perfect which had - yes - a week at the top of the charts back in April. Yet despite opening with an extremely strong sale, so much so that it was indeed topping the charts by the midweek update, their new single Don't Stop faded badly during the week and by the weekend was some way adrift of the race. It means their sales race ends in relative failure, or as much as a Number 2 single can be, and in a sense, I'm kind of glad things turned out this way. She Looks So Perfect was the epitome of a one week wonder, dropping 1-10 in its second week on the chart and experiencing a chart run which suggests it was a solid Top 20 hit rather than a worthy chart-topper. The group undoubtedly have their fans and a following but the kind of front-loading to extremes which sees them manage a single week of high-level sales and very little afterwards only serves to devalue the status of reaching Number One at a time when the accolade appears to have been available for the best-promoted record of the week. Their failure this week demonstrates that a chart-topper isn't a guarantee, and that actually comes as something of a relief.
The Top 3 is completed by the still strongly-selling Ed Sheeran track Sing. Number One a fortnight ago, it is actually entirely possible that it was not the best-selling Sheeran track of the week in the UK. This is all thanks to the decision of his label to make almost half the contents of his new album X available as instant gratification downloads midweek, leading to the extraordinary situation of the artist having as many as five of the ten biggest selling tracks of the moment as registered by the live charts from online stores. As we noted last week, however, just two of them are eligible to chart at the moment, official single Sing and the very first instant grat release One which this week vaults 47-20 in the wake of the growing anticipation for the new album. The promotional blizzard has had the effect of bringing more of the tracks from the album to popular attention than is usual. With the collection finally released this week, it raises the prospect that the red-haired singer-songwriter might set a new record for a cherry-picked Top 40 invasion of album tracks this time next week.
Back with singles that actually do chart, new in at Number 4 is one of the standout releases of the summer so far. Budapest is the debut hit single for 21-year-old folk singer George Ezra, the fifth-placed act in this year's Sound Of 2014 poll. Already a sizeable hit across the continent, the captivating and intensely beautiful track crashes onto the chart in a manner which is most welcome. His debut album Wanted On Voyage comes out next week and hopefully should be as fascinating a listen as his hit single.
Number 4 hitmakers with Ready For Your Love back in February, Foamo and RackNRuin aka Gorgon City return to the Top 10 with new release Here For You which enters the chart at Number 7. Guest star on this single is one Laura Welsh, a 27-year-old singer-songwriter whose style has provoked comparisons with Florence and the Machine. Those who have been following the British charts for some time will immediately spot the pattern, a hotly tipped new star given a soft landing with a guest slot on a dance track. Needless to say, the first Laura Welsh solo releases should be being talked about here before the end of the year.
John Legend's All Of Me clings on for a second week at Number 10. If it seems like this single has been around forever, this is because it pretty much has. This is now the track's 17th straight week as a Top 10 hit, edging ever closer to the seemingly untoppable 20 weeks managed by Happy earlier this year, although with every passing week it seems more likely that the single will dip out of the ten. Speaking of the Pharrell Williams track, it slides a place to Number 18 this week on what is now its 28th week as a Top 20 hit.
Her most famous single to date may have been the Christmas Number One (albeit as performed by someone else) but Demi Lovato can't quite capitalise on the notoriety of Skyscraper to the extent that might be hoped. Her new single Neon Lights, taken from her 2013 album Demi just like her Top 10 hit Heart Attack last year creeps onto the singles chart at Number 15 from where it seems unlikely to progress.
One final single of note is actually a track which was first a minor hit at the start of last year but which is now experiencing a new lease of life. The track which introduced Foxes to the world, Clarity by Zedd was a major chart success across the world but a surprisingly small hit here, creeping to just Number 29 in March 2013. With Zedd now a proper star thanks to his Number 2 hit Stay The Night earlier this year, Clarity has now been re-promoted. Returning to the singles chart five weeks ago it this week climbs to Number 27 to exceed its original chart peak.
Over on the album chart, Lana Del Rey sweeps all before her as Ultraviolence tops the chart with ease, duplicating the success of its 2012 predecessor Born To Die. Slotting in just behind is Linkin Park's The Hunting Party, just failing to become their fourth Number One. Perhaps more notably, interest in Jennifer Lopez' much-hyped new album A.K.A. has been rather limited in this country. She limps onto the market at Number 41. Oh yes, and as if to whet the appetite for next week's Ed Sheeran-fest, his debut + rises 50-9 to possibly ensure he has side by side Top 10 hits in seven days time.